Truth Test: Prop 6 Bridge Ads Lack Facts

Fishermen hang out on the Detroit River following a bomb threat that closed the Ambassador Bridge to Canada Monday, July 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Elizabeth Conley)
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Prop 6 Ad: "It may end up being free during their term in office, but eventually we the people are going to be paying big for it."

This is the basic attack from the Maroun family on the bridge idea--- the public will pay for it.

And it's false.

The original agreement has not changed. Canada has agreed to pay for Michigan's half to build it-- $550 million dollars-- and get paid back by collecting tolls. If tolls aren't enough, Canada still agrees to cover costs.

So that statement and these--

"That's our money that the politicians are spending."
"We can't go out and start building bridges. Our grandkids are going to have to pay that off."

--are just plain wrong because there's no money on the line.

Another line from the ad: "There's a huge Michigan debt clock that's ticking and getting bigger all the time."

This is half-true.

There is a national debt clock and yes, Michigan's long term bonded debt and total liabilities increased from 2010 to 2011, but the ad doesn't say what that has to do with the bridge issue.

"Do you know how many police, firefighters, teachers, could we hire with the money they're going to spend on this bridge?"

That's false, because again-- there's no state money being spent.

But the Truth Squad makes an interesting reverse argument with this claim. Governor Rick Snyder negotiated with the feds to get matching funds for its $550 million dollars that Canada is paying. That deal will get $2.2 billion federal dollars for road work around the state. You could make the argument that that money will lessen the pressure from lawmakers to spend more out of the general fund on road repairs-- thus freeing up more money to hire more police, firefighters and teachers.

It's no secret this battle over a second bridge is about money--- the Maroun family's money-- that they'll lose with fewer cars and trucks driving across their bridge.

Maybe what voters should be asking is-- why is the Maroun family spending millions of dollars of its own money on lobbyists, ads and campaign contributions to protect the average taxpayer?

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